[XeTeX] arabxetex vs. xepersian

Paul Isambert zappathustra at free.fr
Sun Oct 3 15:07:04 CEST 2010

  Le 03/10/2010 14:52, Tobias Schoel a écrit :
> I'm no linguist. Sorry if I have uttered old and overcome thoughts.

Let's say they're controversial at best. But not false, mind you: just 
very hard to assess.

> As far as I know, languages do lack things indeed: some phonems, 
> interpunctuation, grammar, ...

Yes, of course. I was speaking about the lexicon, actually, and the 
ability to express thought.

> Political use of phonetics: the German language is lacking the 
> difference between the chinese phonems q,zh,ch,x,sh, ... The 
> consequence is that Chinese was interpreted as kauderwelsch (english 
> translation?) and thus the Chinese as "dumb". This was used for 
> propaganda against China during imperialism.

Well that's a /reflexion/ on phonetics, it's not phonetics itself that 
is used. Such considerations are of course frequent. See Rousseau's 
comparison of the Italian and German languages in his /Essai sur 
l'origine des langues/. And see accents, of course: one person's accent 
is laughable (or, less frequently, poetic) to another. In France the 
accent from Québec is often felt as comical -- until I was told (I can't 
remember by whom) of a French professor who went to Québec and couldn't 
understand why the entire classroom was laughing at him. His accent, of 

In that way, phonetics does indeed play a great role in politics: in 
France at least, you'll never hear a politician with an accent that is 
considered `popular'.

Globally, indeed, languages are often barriers, generally because 
they're ill-understood, sadly. People often think there is a `right' way 
of saying things, which is absurd.

Am I not somewhat off-topic? :)


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